New signage, crosswalk warning stripes and no corner parking are among the changes put in place this week at the Lewis and Commercial Street intersection where a North End woman recently suffered seriously injuries after being run over by a turning car. The new markings were made by Boston Transportation Department who said they are planning a more permanent solution in the coming weeks.

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An elderly man was killed in 1994 at the same intersection (see Globe article below). Similar to the recent incident, he was crossing on the way to the popular Golden Goose store on Commercial Street and hit by a turning car from Lewis Street. In the most recent accident, the North End female victim spent six days at Mass. General Hospital. She faces a long recovery after having her legs run over and suffering a concussion. Both incidents happened during the day.

Residents who lobbied for the changes said, “This gets us to first base in making a notorious intersection a bit safer, but much more needs to be done.” Residents are pushing for a speed bump, although city officials say that is difficult because of snow plows and emergency vehicles.

The “Elderly Crossing” sign refers to the adjacent senior housing at Ausonia Apartments while a new resident parking sign gives more viewing space on the north corner of Lewis Street. Prominent white stripes and curb paint have been added to make both crosswalks more visible.

City officials say new crosswalks and warning strips are the first step in making this notorious intersection a safer place to cross. (NEWF image)

At this weeks Mayor’s Coffee Hour, neighbors approached Mayor Walsh who delegated to Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets, Transportation & Sanitation. After an initial meeting, city officials put in place the signage and new street markings. Osgood said they inspected the intersection and saw car after car rolling through the stop signs, witnessing a near miss accident during the heavy traffic. He added that the new signage “is just the beginning as we work toward a permanent solution.”

The May 15 incident happened around 5:30 p.m. The police report says that an 18 year-old female driver from North End did not see the woman crossing due to a blind spot caused by roof pillar of her car. The intersection is occasionally monitored by police for cars that do not stop at the intersection and officers will continue to do traffic enforcement there, said BPD Captain Kenneth Fong. The driver apparently stopped at the intersection before turning in this case, said Fong. The driver was issued a citation at the scene.

The incident at Lewis and Commercial Streets follows other recent pedestrian accidents in the area. A Union Wharf resident was struck on Commercial Street a few weeks ago, suffering minor injuries. A Lewis Wharf woman was also hit by a car in front of Starbucks last winter.

Despite the new signage, cars are still parking on the corner of Lewis Street. The curb is expected to be painted next week. (NEWF photo)

The following Boston Globe article is from 1994 when a 72 year old man was struck and killed at the Lewis and Commercial Streets intersection.

 

12 COMMENTS

  1. This is long overdue. I own the building and small lot at the corner and have seen the traffic problems first hand.
    This all started when the city made North St one way and channelled all traffic down Lewis St. They did the same with Commercial St. which was a two way street.
    Lewis St was always a quiet street, it was never meant to be a thoroughfare.
    I think traffic patterns in the North End need to be revisited in light of the increasing numbers of tourists and trucks in the neighborhood. New crosswalks will help but the real problem is the ever increasing number of cars using Lewis St. to bypass the traffic lights on Commercial St and Atlantic Ave.

  2. Repaving Lewis Street in that area will eliminate the distraction the potholes and uneven pavement causes drivers, especially those who do not normally use the street.

  3. Again it takes a tragedy. Some things I’d rather not be correct on.

    How about eliminating the illegal parking on commercial as it makes that turn more difficult and you have to maneuver on coming traffic coming blindly from behind an illegally parked vehicle, the cross walk and blind spots.

  4. Just getting people to stop there will be a big win. I’ve had to jump back to the curb to avoid a car. That sliight downgrade seems to make them not come to a complete stop. I still think the speed bump should considered.

  5. I was sitting in front of Golden Goose today and every car that came down Lewis St never stopped at either the stop sign or the cross walk. I hollered out to many a car passing by and was given the finger where is the police presence? Drivers are so oblivious to the signs and the crosswalks that street should have a traffic light.

    • Grace, I had the same experience. After filing two 311 reports about illegally parked cars, I decided to record a few minutes of what I saw and put a video together. The intersection at Lewis and commercial is as dangerous as it has ever been. You can view the video here: https://vimeo.com/220266619

  6. Adam thank you for recording that video I’m not sure what has to be done in order for City Hall to see how dangerous these intersections and crosswalks have become, how many more people need to be seriously hurt before something gets done.

  7. The crosswalk on the left side (drivers side) of Lewis street needs to be eliminated. Removing a park car still does not entirely solve the problem. The blind spot in your car (like what happened in this latest incident) is always going to be there so why not have everyone cross Commercial street using the other crosswalk? If the city was there with paint for the stop line, why didn’t they paint a striped tow zone as well?

    Also, Mon. 6/5, gone by the intersection 4 times today and no one is parked in the tow zone.

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